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Written By Albert Echatah

Monday’s Euro 2024 last-16 matchup features a nail-biting encounter between two-time world champions France and Belgium, who will meet in Dusseldorf. Both countries finished second in their groups after dismal final-day draws and were unable to showcase their true potential throughout the group stage.


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France

In France’s recent Group D match against Poland, Kylian Mbappe, who is headed to Real Madrid, eventually scored his first-ever European Championship goal when he smashed home a spot kick early in the second half, before the Poles had their own 12-yard opportunity. Although, Mike Maignan first stopped the relentless effort from Robert Lewandowski, the AC Milan goalie was ultimately penalized for straying from his line which gave Polish striker the opportunity to get his name on the scorsheet. A subpar French team must overcome some enormous challenges in order to advance to the Euro 2024 final owing to the fact that the likes of Portugal, Germany, and Spain are all in the same side of the knockout stage bracket.

Belgium

Belgium have failed to score in two of their three group games. Interestingly, all four teams in Group E finished with the same number of points. After defeating Romania 2-0 on matchday two, Domenico Tedesco’s team looked to have found their attacking form again, but on Wednesday, they were unable to muster any momentum in a goalless draw against Ukraine, when they were only saved from elimination by their opponents profligacy in front of goal.

Only Serbia scored fewer goals during the group stage than Belgium, who managed only two goals. Domenico Tedesco will have many attacking conundrums to overcome as his team finished in second place behind Romania, their superior goal difference was the critical factor in ousting Ukraine.

Head To Head

Belgium, who have faced France on several occasions over the past century, lost 1-0 in the 2018 World Cup semifinal and then 3-2 in the 2021 Nations League semifinal to Deschamps’ team.

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Key Performers

Mbappé is already a household name for his nation. He has an extraordinary amount of speed and talent, as well as a flair for scoring goals. Expect him to pose a significant risk to the Belgian defence. One of Euro 2024’s breakout talents has been Saliba. The Arsenal star has been a reliable for France in their group games.

Kevin De Bruyne is Belgium’s cheif creator, the Manchester City midfielder is an exceptional playmaker with an amazing passing range. De Bruyne’s sole ambition in this crunch matchup is to breakdown Les Bleus defence with his pinpoint passes.

Verdict

Despite the fact that both managers have an impressive amount of attacking firepower, neither offence has found their rhythm at Euro 2024, making this match a conservative matchup in which defences should prevail. If there is to be a single goal in regulation time, it should go to Les Bleus.

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